LFL chides Azam Baki for trumping cops’ probe into MACC death in custody

HUMAN rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has lambasted MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki for attempting to “explain” the death of a man in the graft buster’s custody.

“Azam has ‘no business’ rushing to conclusions as the police have just begun investigating the matter. It is for the police to investigate and announce findings or refer the matter to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

Zaid Malek (Photo credit: Malay Mail)

“No conclusions can be drawn at this point as to whether or not there was foul play in this death, as Azam has done in his statement,” LFL director Zaid Malek said in a statement today.

This was in reference to Azam’s remark about an elderly suspect who died yesterday (June 16), less than 24 hours after he was arrested in connection with mineral mining activities in Pahang, according to news portal Malaysiakini.

Azam pointed out that the man in his 60s was interrogated at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya and died while undergoing treatment at the Putrajaya Hospital.

Moreover, Zaid added that Azam’s explanation does not carry any value as he is an “interested party”, since the death involved his own officers and happened under MACC custody.

“This should have been obvious to the chief commissioner who should have made no other comment except to say that the matter is under police investigation. Public statements of this nature on the ongoing police probe have the potential to influence or interfere with such a probe.”

Furthermore, Zaid urged the inspector-general of police to form a special investigation unit from the Bukit Aman police headquarters to investigate the incident.

He also noted that in light of the shocking deaths of Teoh Beng Hock in 2009 and Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed in 2011 while in MACC custody, the police must take this matter very seriously and prioritise the investigation as a matter of grave public interest.

“The investigation must be transparent, impartial, and expeditious. Firm action under the law must be taken if any MACC personnel are found to be in any way culpable in this death in custody.” – June 16, 2023

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